Washington College Hodson Hall Commons

Chestertown, MD

Traditional dining, coffee shop, indoor and outdoor dining spaces
Multi-purpose performance venue, banquet space
Student lounges and study space, game room, offices
Sustainable design features
Washington College
Programming, Site Analysis, Cost Estimating, Interior Design, Full Design Services, Construction Administration

To return Washington College’s only dining and student center to prominence, a grim 1965 addition was demolished and a new addition was designed to bring more natural light, modern amenities, and campus connectivity to the facility.


Integrating old and new, the design enhances and highlights the architecture of the original Hodson Hall, while projecting a contemporary image. Conceived as a set of bookends with a minimal modern link, the addition is comprised of a glass and slate central volume anchored by a traditional form opposite historic Hodson. The traditional aesthetic also responds to the historic character of the college and surrounding town.

Entrances on the north and south create a new campus crossroads at the social heart of the college. Designed as a series of nodes, the interior is organized around a central thoroughfare between the two entrances. Student activity spaces, dining, and a large egg-shaped multipurpose room are visually connected to this main circulation route. The flexible “egg” can be closed up for private events or opened for performance overflow and additional dining.

A grand stair spills into the central space with wedge shaped openings to dining above, filtering light down from a skylight. Second level dining is broken up by two pods that provide students with alternative, intimate spaces surrounded by a mezzanine-level lounge for informal dining. Both levels offer outdoor breakout and dining space, enhancing connections with the surrounding campus and enabling engagement of passersby.

“[Hodson Hall is] another exemplary design effort by GWWO ... It is rare that project teams come together as well as yours did with our campus and committees.”

—Baird Tipson, retired President, Washington College


Kent County Maryland Best Institutional Design Award